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Ciara Hall

Ms. Hamm

Fundamentals of education

3/29/16

The Ethical Educator

Rules are an interesting concept. Essentially, some people follow them, and some people do not.

It is up to the individual themselves as to whether or not they are followed however. There is no one

person who comes around to see if the said individual has followed all the rules on that given day. It is

simply common understanding that a person will be ethical enough to follow them. It is understood that

a person is not going to steel someone’s car or deal drugs. If they do, it is expected that they will be

punished. The average person is held to high standards as it is, but what of teachers?

Let’s pause for a moment and look at teachers from a parent’s perspective. Your child’s teacher

is one who is with your child for roughly eight hours a day, and the one who, ultimately, holds your child’s

future in their hands. They are the ones who can influence the way they think, speak, and behave.

Teachers hold a lot of power over your child. Would you want your child’s teacher to be held to the same

standards as you or to higher ones? Ignorant parents may say that it really makes no difference to them

what kind of standards their child’s teacher is held to, so long as they teach well and they can see their

results on their child’s report card. Other parents may find it very comforting that the person who is able

to influence their child the most is held to such high standards. They certainly should be!
Standards for Teachers

Teachers are held to these high standards by the Code of ethics. Most of the standards are

common sense, such as legal compliance (which is following the law) or drugs or alcohol (which

prohibits the use of either, at a school function or in the presence of students). Standards that may not

be so commonly known would be the part of Conduct with Students that states that the educator is not

allowed to let one of their students into their home, even if it is on the weekends, or remunerative

conduct (which means that a teacher is not to accept any payment from a student or parent. They are

already getting paid for teaching). It is important for a teacher to be highly educated in the Code of

Ethics so as to avoid any misunderstanding. Some of the standards can be extremely difficult to follow,

especially under certain circumstances.

One of my teachers, in elementary school, was really close friends with my mom, and I went

over to her house to spend the night with her daughter a couple of times. Either my teacher wasn’t sure

of this particular rule she was breaking or she figured she wouldn’t get caught. She never got caught

allowing this, but I know now that it was against the Code of Ethics. I am sure that this has happened

multiple times over the years, on different occasions, but it is a teacher’s job to know their ethical

obligations and decide what to do. In situations like this one, they can either decide to take the risk and

deal with the consequences if they are found out, or know that it is against their ethical standards and

refuse.

I have witnessed another one of these standards being violated in the past. Another one of my

teachers would get extremely angry with me when I would get an answer incorrect. Each time I made a

mistake, she would react the same way. This really started to take a toll on me emotionally. Eventually, I

started to feel as though I could do nothing right. I became afraid to answer anyone. Of course, I
recovered from this, as the years went by, but it is something I’ll surely never forget. This was definitely

a violation of Conduct with Students as well. A teacher should know better, ethically, than to treat a

student that way. A child should never be made to feel as though they can do nothing right. Teachers

should always treat their students with respect as they expect their students to respect them.

How teachers are supposed to treat students goes into the moral standards they should be held

to that are tactfully woven into the code of ethics. Standards such as Honesty or Testing, are not illegal by

laws if they are violated, but they are violations of the Code of Ethics. In regards to the standard of

Honesty, a teacher must always be truthful about her personal information. With testing, a teacher must

refrain from giving a student answers or discussing the test with the students. If the teacher does these

things, again, they are not breaking the law, but they are violating the code of ethics. If any of these are

violated, a teacher will run the risk of getting suspended or fired. It is best for the teacher to always follow

what is right.

What I feel that I would have the most trouble with is the Confidential Information standard. It

would be easy for me not to talk about the students with other parents or teachers, but I think the

hardest thing would be to remember that I am not even supposed to talk about my students with my

friends or family. I will have to keep in mind that, if I do want to tell a story, I will need to be very vague

and refrain from using their names. There is so much to keep in mind when you are aspiring to become a

teacher. It is not all about you. You suddenly have to think in terms of what is best for your students.

Education for The Educator


There are many things that a teacher must know before they are ready to take on the academic

classroom’s challenges. It is important that they are skilled in all of the academic subjects, so that they are

better able to assist their students. The teacher must be able to encourage skills such as critical thinking,

problem-solving, and creativity across the curriculum. They must be strong in these skills as well in order

to model them correctly.

Teaching someone how to think is commonly mistaken for teaching someone what to think.

These two concepts could not be more different. Teaching someone what to think is telling them that

one way of thinking is correct over another, and forcing this so-called correct way of thinking upon

them. However, teaching someone how to think is the act of presenting many different approaches to a

topic and letting the person decide what fits their beliefs or learning styles. A teacher’s job is to educate

her students on how to think—not what to think. It is the educator’s duty to make certain that the

difference between these two are clear so as not to mislead their students.

This is one of the many reasons that teachers are studied in the different educational

philosophies. These philosophies help teachers to present different types of information to their

students in many different ways. For example, one of the ways I plan on incorporating creative and

multiple ways of thinking is to have learning centers based off of Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple

Intelligences. This will demonstrate to the students that there are indeed many different ways to think

and learn. One way is not more correct over the other. It is vital that teachers are studied in the

developmental stages of their students, socially, physically, and academically, so that they know how to

tailor their lesson plans accordingly.

Where the students are physically, socially, and academically should also affect how a teacher

manages her classroom. For example, if some students are more timid to work in groups than others, it

may be a constructive idea to mix them up. When assigning groups, the teacher might put some of the
more timid students with some others that are less timid. This way, the students who are less timid may

learn from their more outgoing peers. This arrangement would help to emphasize further to the

students that each person has their own way of thinking.

Also, as far as classroom management goes, a teacher may want to consider how to deal with

the fact that a student with a disability, learning or physical, may stand out among the other students.

More often than not, children don’t understand others who are unique and may pick on those students

or avoid them all together. To prevent this or at least help with the issue, teachers could provide the

student in question with the opportunity to explain their disability to the class. Then, making certain

that it is controlled, you can allow the class to ask that particular student questions. As a teacher, it is

your responsibility to focus the class’s attention on how they are similar to that student, and not to

dwell on how they are different. This same procedure works for a student with a unique ethnic or

cultural background who is new to the class as well.

Assessment

Being well educated is only half of being a teacher. A teacher must also know how to assess

students in a wide variety of ways. Of course, there are the typical examinations, but it is okay to think

out of the box sometimes too. For example, a teacher could have the students make their own books if

they are talking about story structure in class. This would be an excellent way to assess whether or not

they understand the concept of protagonists, antagonists, beginning, middle, and end. Children love to

be able to apply their knowledge for something they will actually use. This is a perfect example!
Conclusion

So, as you can see, the ethical educator has many responsibilities, not only to follow the Code of

Ethics, but to make sure she is giving her all for her students as well. She must use her knowledge of the

Code of Ethics and the teaching philosophy she has adapted over the course of teaching to be the best

she can possibly be. She will find that, with skills, an open mind, knowledge, and patience, she will be

able to tackle the rewarding challenge that comes with a diverse classroom. I will certainly strive for this

when I become a teacher.


References

The Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators: http://www.gapsc.com/Rules/Current/Ethics/505-6-.01.pdf

Moral Turpitude:

http://www.gapsc.com/Ethics/Downloads/moral_turpitude.pdf